At Summer’s End

KCRG Weather Map 6:36 p.m. Aug. 28, 2018

We turned on the T.V. for the first time in a couple of years to watch the weather report. A large storm moved across Iowa at a high rate of speed and despite home computers, mobile devices, and a community siren wailing in the distance, we felt we needed one more source of information.

The storm amounted to a heavy rain in the micro climate surrounding our neighborhood. It could have been worse.

I finished my summer work at Blog for Iowa. Two months, 52 posts, and a process for gathering information and putting up content our readers might find interesting. I first posted on the blog in February 2009 and made 993 posts since then. It has become part of my writer’s life with a different audience and more exposure. I plan to post more on Blog for Iowa although for now it’s time to turn the page.

I took two days of vacation from the home, farm and auto supply store this week, before the retail dash to the end of year holidays. The time off is compensated by additional work at the orchard. A month into apple season we’re gearing up for a big Labor Day weekend picking Honeycrisp apples — a community favorite. We’ve had a bowl of fresh apples sitting on the counter since I returned to work Aug. 4 for my sixth season.

Yesterday, after my daily trip to the garden, I spent time in the kitchen processing vegetables. The bakery manager at the orchard gave me a bag of small, red hot peppers which are in the dehydrator. I roasted then processed a pan of jalapeno peppers producing eight ounces of hot pepper sauce to use in cooking. While I had the oven on I roasted eggplant and put it in the freezer. Cleaning, sorting, storing cucumbers and tomatoes — trying to stay on top of the harvest. There is a lot more processing to be done before summer ends.

These stories about daily life in Iowa are something. That I write them at all depends upon reasonably good health in a stable society. As much as society and our assumptions about it seem to be unraveling, it’s still here, providing a platform for imaginations. From here I can live a better life, even as I approach the end of my seventh decade. We can’t give in to entropy.

What excites me these days is an understanding that comes with letting go of the old arguments, the old apologies and explanations in life. I accept our human nature. Our intellect can see into the future, however, we can only live now.

I trade in narratives about what happened, about what could be. As I continue to write I seek something, resolution of past grievances perhaps. More importantly I seek a narrative that will carry us into tomorrow. A story about the greater good that remains possible in these turbulent times.

My list of today’s kitchen work has five things: zucchini bread, Serrano pepper salsa, process celery, make refrigerator pickles and Pecos pasta for supper. These will nourish me today and for a while. What I need isn’t food.

Occasionally I get glimpses of life as it could be. Paying attention to those is what makes life worth living. It’s nourishment for the unseen presence in our lives. Whether it’s God, my ancestors, or beams from the great beyond I can’t determine. In that sense, I plan to focus on these glimpses of life while telling my story. Hopefully I can provide something worth while for readers.

4 replies on “At Summer’s End”

Very well expressed, Paul. I think that your written works will appeal especially to others who have arrived at a similar place in their thought processes or stage of life. I’m glad that you plan to keep writing!


I appreciate reading your story, Paul, and it gives me hope going forward. Thank you for continuing to write.
I do have a garden question for you: with your eggplant, you roast them and freeze them? Do you feel they lose any of their texture being frozen? And how do you use them coming out of the freezer?


Thanks for your comment Darin.

I’ve been freezing slabs of eggplant a few years. Typically I use them in eggplant Parmesan. I’m no food scientist but roasting does something for the texture, and freezing afterward has not been an issue. I thaw them before making a dish. The fairy tale eggplant cut in 1 inch cylindars is to add into soups, stews and stir fries. First year using them this way. Friends who do it report positively. Regards, Paul

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